AU Press Releases

Alfred University professor’s turn as Papa Smurf lands him on Buzzfeed


Larry "Papa Smurf" Greil

ALFRED, NY – Larry Greil, professor of sociology at Alfred University, has been entertaining his students on Halloween Day the last five years by dressing as Pap Smurf, the loveable patriarch of the popular ’80s cartoon The Smurfs. Today, the veteran educator finds himself somewhat of an internet celebrity after a student’s Twitter post went viral.

On Thursday, digital media provider Buzzfeed News published a story on Greil after a post by Alfred University junior Dom LeMorta went viral. LeMorta went to his class Tuesday morning, snapped a photo of Greil as Papa Smurf, and posted it to Twitter with the message, “Do you imagine waking up for an 8 a.m. and this is what you walk in and see...”

The response to LeMorta’s post was unexpected. “My Twitter has been frozen for the longest time because of all the notifications," LeMorta told BuzzFeed.

Griel, who has been teaching at Alfred University 42 years, has been dressing as the popular cartoon character on Halloween Day for five years, after some of his students began referring to him as Papa Smurf. By painting his face blue and donning a droopy red hat, the white-haired and bearded Greil bears an uncanny resemblance to Papa Smurf.

"I always do it kind of deadpan. I come to class and start lecturing. Students do a double-take, smile, and start taking notes (and pictures),” Greil, who will retire after this year, told Buzzfeed. “This is the first year it went viral.”